PG Firefighters Accused of Setting Houses Ablaze

Washington, D.C.  (Friday, April 30, 2021) – Five former volunteers firefighters out of Prince George’s County, Maryland are facing a range of charges accused of deliberating setting fires.  County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy announced the five were indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit 1st degree arson, misconduct in office, and other charges.

The firefighters worked out of the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Department.  They are identified as  Cole Vazquez, George Smith, Jay St. John, Jeremy Hawkins, and Nicholas Holzberger. The firefighters are accused of conspiring with  civilians Giancarolo Reyes, Francis Ortiz Oro, and Christopher Morales to set 4 vacant houses on fire.  Authorities say the blazes were allegedly set at times when the individuals would be on duty at the fire station and therefore available to participate in the fire suppression effort and in locations where the West Lanham Hills Volunteer Fire Station would have primary responsibility. No one was hurt in any of these incidents.

“Our first responders are important to this community,” said State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy. We trust them and hold them accountable to the oath they have taken to protect and serve us. Anyone who doesn’t uphold that oath will be held accountable.”


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